Will Te'o live up to the hype, or will the big plays be just out of his reach?
It's the one word come draft time that terrifies NFL executives. Whiffing on a first rounder can set the franchise back a whole year, as the player you anticipated building your team around becomes essentially worthless.
While almost all players picked so high seem so likely to pan out, there will always be those who never live up to the hype. Here are a few players not worth taking the risk on.
Despite all the recent publicity we've all become oh-so-familiar with, Manti Te'o is actually still a football player.
This season, Te'o made a name for himself anchoring a Notre Dame defense that was one of the best in all of college football. He made big play after big play and carried them to a 12-0 season and the BCS title game, all while enamoring the entire population and getting everyone to fall in love with this team.
Then Alabama happened.
In a game where he seemingly missed every tackle, Te'o had some glaring weaknesses exposed. His seven interceptions this season could have been an aberration, as it is very difficult to count on a linebacker to consistently do that, especially in the NFL.
The film does not lie, as Te'o has good size at 6'2 and 255 pounds, but does not know how to use it. He is not adept at pursuing ball-carriefs and struggles to bring players down. This was never more evident than against Alabama where he finally was put to the test against an above-average opponent and failed miserably.
Much of his hype stemmed from Notre Dame's national recognition and their average schedule. At the next level, he will have major adjustments to make to stir up the same sort of hype.
The most prolific pass-rusher in the draft. He might possibly the best player overall and worthy of the number one pick. He is a can't miss prospect...oh wait, he has major medical red flags?
Does this not sound eerily similar to what we heard coming into the draft just a few short years ago about one Da'Quan Bowers?
There is no doubting Jones' ability, as he has destroyed SEC competition for the past couple of seasons, with 28 sacks over the last two years at Georgia. In reality, 100 sacks would not be enough to divert the attention from the fact that Jones has spinal stenosis which could end his career at any moment.
Toss in the fact that he is undersized at 6'3" and 240 pounds, then it is hard to envision Jones obliterating quarterbacks in the NFL the same way he did in college.
While still assuredly a top 10 pick, it would be surprising for him to maintain that status in the coming weeks. Jones is a very high-risk pick with huge red flags that could very likely contribute to him either sliding in the draft, or becoming a bust.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Barkley was looked at as a possible No. 1 pick if he came out last season, and a definite No. 1 pick this year after returning for his senior season, but Andrew Luck he is not.
Barkley saw his completion percentage take a significant dip in his senior season. He also failed time and again to produce in big games. Against the cream of the crop in the Pac-12, Barkley fell flat on his face. USC started the season ranked tops in the nation, with phenomenal receivers Robert Woods and Marqise Lee at Barkley's disposal. The result was him throwing at least two interceptions against Stanford, Cal, Arizona, Oregon, Arizona State and UCLA. Barkley did not come up big one time and prove that he can win a big game.
Yet to be mentioned is Barkley's shoulder injury that he suffered in the final regular season game against UCLA. This will be sure to hinder him at his pro day or during the combine, and could negatively affect his draft stock.
The senior quarterback does not have a great arm, nor does he have great mobility in the pocket. Very few quarterbacks in the current NFL fail to possess both of those skills, as offenses are geared towards an aerial passing game or at least having a quarterback who can escape and make plays with his legs when plays break down.
The odds are against Barkley taking the NFL by storm as he has glaring weak points, with the most alarming being his failure to win big games during his senior season.